Keeping the community comfortable during COVID-19

Lizzie Sheppard graduated with a BSc in Chemistry with Pharmaceutical and Forensic Science in 2008. Lizzie tells us how she used her extra time after being furloughed to help others in the community and do her own little bit to help fight COVID-19.

How has Covid-19 impacted you both in a professionally and personally?

Just like with many others COVID-19 has impacted my life in stages. At first it was not being able to visit family and friends. I volunteer at two Guide Groups, so the cancellation of future meetings came next, shortly followed by the cancellation of events such as WINGS 2020 (a scout and guide international jamboree) and Wellies and Wristbands too.

Professionally it was a bit of a different story. I’m a Regulatory Compliance Associate for a cleaning products manufacturer. The start of the lockdown meant that we were extremely busy for the first couple of weeks, with workload increasing and the need to take extra precautions around the office. Unfortunately, I started to show symptoms associated with COVID-19 so had to self-isolate for the recommended 2 weeks and after this I was furloughed for a further 6 weeks. I’ve just recently returned to work after a total of 8 weeks away so I’m getting back into the swing of things.

Tell us about how you’ve been volunteering to support the front line?

A selection of the ear savers made by Lizzie

After being furloughed and stuck at home I suddenly had all this extra time on my hands, so wanted to do something that could help others and keep me busy. I saw a photo on Facebook where someone had made crochet ear savers and thought I could do the same. Crochet Ear Savers are little pieces of fabric that make wearing facemasks much more comfortable, especially for those that need to wear them for long periods of time, as they allow the elastic straps to wrap around the fabric instead of around the ears.

I found a pattern online and quickly got to work. I have currently made a total of 120 ear savers which have been donated to those in need such as the local hospital, two care homes, and many friends (and their friends) who work in the NHS or care sector.

What inspired you to volunteer?

Just seeing how hard the NHS and carers are working I wanted to help and do m

Hannah Standage modelling her ear savers

y bit. I couldn’t make scrubs so chose to make these instead, every little helps! I’ve had such lovely feedback from people in receipt of these, it’s spurred me on to make more. Even though I’m now back at work, they’re quick and easy to make a couple on an evening whilst watching the tv.

‘Just been to a patient’s house, was there for 2.5 hours, these masks are so uncomfortable around your ears for that amount of time so thank you!!!’

Hannah Standage, Physio and fellow University of Bradford Alum


What would you say to others who’d like to volunteer but not sure how to or what to do?

My advice would be to look online, ask your friends and family for ideas, see what others around you are already doing and think of what skills you have that can help to make a difference. As I’ve already mentioned, my inspiration came from seeing a post on social media when scrolling through.

Would you like to share a story about how you have been supporting others during COVID-19?
The Alumni Team are interested in hearing about what alumni and students are doing to help others during the COVID-19 pandemic. No matter how small your contribution, your story doesnt have to be heroic , you can get in touch with us by emailing

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